News & Media

First Hamer Hall design sketches released

The Brumby Labor Government and Arts Centre have released the first design sketches for the Hamer Hall refurbishment, as part of the $128.5 million Southbank Cultural Precinct Redevelopment. The drawings show Melbourne’s popular concert venue opened up to the Yarra River bank and St Kilda Rd. Arts Minister Peter Batchelor said Hamer Hall, which opened in 1982, had become one of Victoria’s cultural icons. “Hamer Hall was one of the first buildings situated on the south side of the Yarra River and it was central to the redevelopment of Melbourne’s riverside along Southbank. “Now that Southbank has been transformed into a major destination for Victorians and visitors alike, it’s time to open up the building to the river and to the many thousands of people who take in the riverside promenade each day.” “This redevelopment will breathe new life into Hamer Hall, while maintaining its unique character and ensuring it will be a state-of-the-art facility that invites people in and responds to the needs of artists and audiences into the future.” Major Projects Minister Tim Pallas said the new design was a clever rethink of the 30-year-old building that would increase access and maintain heritage features. “We are excited by how this design incorporates a second entry to the Hall, with access straight from the river bank promenade to the stalls. The plan is to also remove the existing covered promenade, create a new ‘civic stair’ and a 24-hour lift from the river to St Kilda Road,” Mr Pallas said. “The design reflects how far Melbourne has come in 30 years. When Hamer Hall was built, the Yarra River was something we turned away from, now it is one of our most popular recreational areas.” Arts Centre Chief Executive Judith Isherwood said the project, stage one of the Southbank Cultural Precinct Redevelopment, would fulfil the original vision of architect Sir Roy Grounds. “Our aim is to create a world class performance space for all Victorians which is open every day and into the evening,” Ms Isherwood said. “The new design will ensure Hamer Hall can continue to attract world-class performances and provide the opportunity for us to develop a more diverse audience.” The project is being lodged with Heritage Victoria next week, with a 28-day public consultation process to follow. There has been ongoing consultation with Heritage Victoria about proposed changes to the building’s exterior, the foyers and the auditorium. Works on the Hamer Hall refurbishment is expected to begin by the middle of this year.